TELL THE WORLD!

Tell the World

Exposing how China is creating the world’s largest prison.

“People started to literally disappear, communities were being emptied of adult men and women.” China researcher

It’s a remote corner of the world, but what is taking place there is nothing short of breathtaking.

“My older brother, younger brothers and two younger sisters, five siblings were all taken by… masked police. Heavily armed Special Forces police raided their home and taken (sic) them by covering their face and shackling them in front of the kids.” Australian Uyghur

Xinjiang province is a vast area of deserts and mountains where the ancient Silk Road once ran. Today its Uyghur population is being systematically rounded up with estimates of as many as a million citizens being held in detention.

MEANWHILE despite warnings of threats to Australia’s security from our intelligence agencies perhaps not the best people of High Net Worth enter our nation through laundering black money in our real estate … as these Uyghur people suffer …

ARE we facing situations like we did say in the late 1930s where we actively traded with some foreign countries whilst staying oblivious, ignorant, or deliberately failed to recognise human rights abuses for the sake of trade?

DO any of us remember ‘Pig Iron Bob’ and the export of ‘pig iron’ to Japan in the late 1930s only, of course, to fuel their war machine that came back to Australia in the form of ‘bombs’ … metaphorically of course … and of course history also mentions quite a few others like some Americans who willingly traded with the Nazis … and who set about making their fortune.

From this very same opportunity, it would seem, that is trading with those who become the enemy? Are we sleep walking with somebody with their hands in our pockets?

Tell the World

Posted Mon 15 Jul 2019

Expires: Tuesday 11 June 4757 8:31pm

Exposing how China is creating the world’s largest prison.

“People started to literally disappear, communities were being emptied of adult men and women.” China researcher

It’s a remote corner of the world, but what is taking place there is nothing short of breathtaking.

“My older brother, younger brothers and two younger sisters, five siblings were all taken by… masked police. Heavily armed Special Forces police raided their home and taken (sic) them by covering their face and shackling them in front of the kids.” Australian Uyghur

Xinjiang province is a vast area of deserts and mountains where the ancient Silk Road once ran. Today its Uyghur population is being systematically rounded up with estimates of as many as a million citizens being held in detention.

“I realised it was kind of next level material in terms of what the Chinese state is capable of doing.” Open source investigator

In this investigation by reporter Sophie McNeill, Four Corners uncovers disturbing evidence of how China is effectively operating the world’s largest prison.

“You have to watch the brainwashing program on TV in the detention centre. In that room they put (a) chain onto my ankle, put the handcuffs on my hand.” Australian Uyghur detainee

Even those still left in their homes are being monitored. The communist regime is using cutting edge technology, mass surveillance tools and artificial intelligence to control an entire population.

“Every 200 meters, there’s checkpoints. They check your IDs. They will check your smartphone.” Australian Uyghur

By piecing together witness accounts from Australian citizens caught up in the Chinese Government’s campaign, along with satellite imagery analysis and official documents uncovered online, the truth about what is occurring in Xinjiang is laid bare.

“I realised the magnitude and the impact… it was really something else.” Open source investigator

The program has uncovered evidence of detainees being forced to work in factories with implications for Australian companies doing business in the region.

“Western companies stand an increasing risk of having products made by forced or at least highly involuntary labour.” Academic

The program will also reveal concerning evidence about Australia’s links to China’s dystopian surveillance state and the tools used to racially profile its own citizens.

“Essentially by doing that, we’re being complicit in the human rights abuses that are occurring in Xinjiang and in China more widely.” Surveillance researcher

The events unfolding in China are creating heartbreak for Uyghurs in Australia. They have stayed quiet for fear of provoking the authorities into punishing their relatives. Now, in desperation they are breaking their silence to tell the world what is going on.

“She said ‘If I am not released, cannot get out of here, please speak up for me. Stand for me. Never give up’.”Uyghur Australian

“Now I have to speak out. I think Australians, all the Australia need to know this story.” Uyghur Australian

Tell the world, reported by Sophie McNeill, goes to air on Monday 15th July at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 16th July at 1.00pm and Wednesday 17th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

Transcript

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SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Xinjiang in China’s northwest, a UN panel says the region resembles a “massive internment camp” – where more than 1 million Muslim minorities have been rounded up, detained and forcibly indoctrinated by the Chinese regime.

ADAM TURAN: All of us, many of us will cry when we’re alone. We decided to talk about it, just tell the world, tell everyone what happened, what’s been happen, what’s happening now.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Australian citizens and permanent residents have been targeted and jailed here. Others are still trapped under constant surveillance, their passports seized.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Every single people overseas lost someone in their family, and I’m one of the victims.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Witness accounts, satellite imagery and Communist party documents reveal what appears to be largest imprisonment of people on the basis of religion since the Holocaust.

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: This is an act of cultural genocide and one of the worst human rights abuses of our time.

DR ADRIAN ZENZ, Independent researcher: I’m quite used to uncovering dirty secrets of the Chinese government but when I realised the magnitude and the impact, the implications of what I found, it was, it was really something else.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, reporter: Tonight, on Four Corners, China’s mass incarceration of its Muslim population and how it’s tearing Australian families apart. We expose the full extent of the communist party’s campaign of cultural extermination and why Australia can’t look away.

All around Australia, members of the Uyghur community are missing someone.

Everyone has a family member detained, incarcerated or trapped in Xinjiang.

Many have stayed quiet, out of fear for their relatives.

But now, in desperation, they are coming forward to tell their story.

NURMUHAMMAD MAJID, East Turkistan Australia Association: My older brother, younger brothers and two younger sisters, five siblings were all taken by the Chinese government.

Masked police, heavily armed Special Forces police raided their home and taken them by covering their face and shackling them in front of the kids.

ADAM TURAN: They took my father and other brother and they detained them to the internment camps.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: As a father, as a husband, most important thing is your wife and your kids and they are not with me.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Sadam Abudusalamu left Xinjiang to study in Australia ten years ago and become an Australian citizen in 2013.

NADILA: So how are, you are you ok?

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Yeah, I’m good how about you?

NADILA: I’m ok, is there any news about our case?

When will you get us out?

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Soon, soon. Hopefully finalized soon.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: He has never met his son Lutfy, who is almost two years old. The toddler is trapped in Xinjiang with Sadam’s wife Nadila.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU Please don’t cry darling. Don’t cry bubba.

NADILA: Can you please find a way to get us out of here soon?

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: All right well, I love you.

NADILA: I love you.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: All I want is live a normal life like Australian.

Stay with my son, stay with my wife.

That’s all I want.

What does it be so hard to bring my wife and my son here?

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: There are several thousand Uyghurs in Australia, Turkic speaking Muslims, many came to this country seeking asylum from communist party persecution.

Free to practice their religion here, in Xinjiang the Chinese government has effectively outlawed Islam.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Can’t pray. Can’t fast, need to speak Chinese in the school.

NURGUL SAWUT, AUSTRALIAN UYGHUR ASSOCIATION: The government come to that ridiculous point where actually they’re controlling the way we look.

Men not allowed to have a beard, and a female not allowed to have scarf, even long dress.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The crackdown on Uyghurs followed decades of religious and separatist tensions…and after millions of Han Chinese were resettled in the region.

DR. DARREN BYLER, anthropologist, University of Washington: Uyghurs began to feel themselves being dispossessed of their land, dispossessed of their way of life.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In July 2009, demonstrations broke out. Nearly 200 people were killed, with reports that over 1000 Uyghurs were arrested.

In response, Beijing rolled out what it called the ‘strike hard campaign’ in Uyghur areas.

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: What it began to do is really systematically step up its police presence as well as its party infrastructure in Xinjiang, to begin to surveil the Uyghur population.

And so, some of them struck back in really horrific ways.

There is a suicide car bombing in Tiananmen, in Beijing.

There was this attack on a train station in Kunming that left over 20 innocent train travellers massacred quite brutally.

DR. DARREN BYLER, anthropologist, University of Washington: That’s really when the rhetoric of terrorism really took off as, something you could use to label Uyghurs as a group, that they’re all potentially terrorists and so, you know, using any means necessary is justified.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In 2016, Sadam went back to Xinjiang to marry his girlfriend Nadila.

After their honeymoon to America and Turkey Nadila became pregnant.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: We get the positive test.

She’s pregnant.

That’s another best happiness moment for me.

I’m nervous, actually.

Like, I’m going to be dad, I’m going to have son.

I’m going to have baby.

I was nervous and happy.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Sadam came back to Australia in early 2017 for work, while Nadila waited in Xinjiang for her spouse visa to be approved.

When Beijing suddenly launched its brutal new campaign.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Suddenly, she called me: “our government starts taking people’s passport.”

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Xinjiang essentially became the world’s largest open-air prison, with tight travel restrictions placed Uyghurs & other Muslim minorities.

11 million Uyghurs were now a target.

The first reports of citizens being rounded up and detained in camps started trickling through.
NURMUHAMMAD MAJID, East Turkistan Australia Association: In the community, we heard stories of people’s direct messages of their family members were taken.

Everyone was panicking, everyone was trying to find out whether their family members were safe or not.

ADAM TURAN: We start to hear everyone’s family being detained.

Like ordinary people, average people, their family members being detained and then I realized something is going on.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Uyghurs who had visited Muslim countries or had lived overseas were among the first targeted.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Whoever went to the Turkey, Saudi Arabia or any Muslim country, they’re putting in the people to the jail or concentration camp.

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: People started to literally disappear, communities were being emptied of adult men and women.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Sadam was prevented from being with Nadila when she gave birth – the Chinese consulate in Sydney refused to give him a visa.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU I wasn’t there when, when he born.

I imagine how hard for Nadila to having a baby by herself.

I wasn’t staying next to her.

So, it was so hard.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Not long after Lutfy was born, Sadam received terrible news.

Security forces had arrived at Nadila’s family home.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: I was on the train to the work.

Then I get the message from my wife’s friends saying, “Oh, your wife’s been taken.

I just quietly crying in the train.

Even the people in train asking me, “What’s happening? What’s happening?”

And I can’t tell them.

The Chinese government took her and I don’t know where.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: After two weeks, Sadam heard his wife had been released but Nadila remains trapped in Xinjiang with baby Lutfy – forbidden from travelling and living in fear of rearrest.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: She’s scared.

She’s always hoping, “please, let me out from here.”

He’s getting older and older.

Every day passing, he doesn’t know he’s dad.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In Adelaide, Sadam’s friend Almas, also received terrifying news from home.

His wife Zainab had been taken.

ALMAS NIZAMIDIN: My wife been arrested by Chinese police.

They dress in undercover, I think, there’s more than eight or nine police officers.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Zainab’s family witnessed security forces put a black hood over her head and bundle her into a van.

She was seven weeks pregnant.

ALMAS NIZAMIDIN: I can’t leave her like that, so I booked a flight ticket.

Very next day, I left to Urumqi.

So, I spent three months’ time in Urumqi, and then I only can get the information she was been arrested because of the reason she did study in Egypt.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Almas spent weeks in Xinjiang searching for his wife, before being summoned by the police.

ALMAS NIZAMIDIN: They ask me to come to police station, talk to me face to face.

And then when I went there, they gave me the piece of paper, say, I need to get out their country in 24 hours.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: After Almas flew back to Australia, the Chinese security forces came for his fifty-year-old mother.

ALMAS NIZAMIDIN She’s a high school math teacher.

She’s been work for Chinese government for thirty years.

They take her from the house.

The police officer come to the house and then knock the door and then arrest her.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In April, Almas received an email from an official from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra.

She informed him that the Chinese government had sentenced his wife to seven years in jail for the crime of “assembling a crowd to disturb social order.”

ALMAS NIZAMIDIN: And then they say that my wife was assembling a crowd.

She can’t even go shopping by herself.

Like she’s very scared.

They arrest her like she did like assembling a crowd to disturb social order.

That’s impossible.

They kill my heart.

My wife, my mom, they’re like so important for me, it’s my responsibility to protect them, but I couldn’t protect them.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: At first, China tried to deny these camps existed.

But using satellite imagery a team of researchers and scholars across the globe have uncovered the evidence. 

NATHAN RUSER, Satellite analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute: Essentially, you’re looking for a large, highly securitized facility where almost every aspect of the movement inside these areas is completely restrained.

You’re looking for walls surrounding the whole facility with watchtowers on the edges of it and specifically you’re looking for internal fencing, barbed wire, three-metre high fencing.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The scale of the mass internment program is chilling.

Researchers have now identified and mapped nearly 100 suspected re-education camps and detention facilities across Xinjiang.

DR ADRIAN ZENZ Independent researcher: It’s basically clear that a huge percentage of the middle age range especially Uyghurs aged between 18 and 45 years, a very large percentage of them are in some form of internment or prison.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Using regime documents that academics tracked down online, the full detail of what China is doing to its Muslim citizens is being revealed.

DR ADRIAN ZENZ Independent researcher: For example budget reports, government reports, work reports, then also procurement bids, construction bids that were also very detailed that said, “we need a re-education camp built in this area and it needs to be this big and it needs to have surrounding walls, barbed wire, towers, surveillance equipment, cameras” and so on and so forth.

DR DARREN BYLER, anthropologist, University of Washington: They were buying, police batons, tasers, different instruments that could be used in torture like cattle prods, stun guns, pepper spray, all this sort of things that you would find in a prison setting.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: This footage filmed secretly by human rights activists shows the inside of these camps, cells fitted with double iron doors, keypad locks and cameras, walls covered with slogans praising Chinese President Xi Jinping and in the “classrooms” teachers separated from “students” by railings and wire.

These slick propaganda videos claim Uyghurs are happy with their re-education.

UPSOT VIDEO [SUBTITLES]: If we were not saved before it was too late from being fooled I would have betrayed this great country.

UPSOT VIDEO [SUBTITLES]: I learned more about the law and I realised I was wrong.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The Chinese government describes its new campaign as “breaking the roots” of extremists.

DR. DARREN BYLER, anthropologist, University of Washington: And so what they’re doing when they say they want to break the roots, break the lineage is they want to eliminate the basic institutions, the basic elements of Uyghur culture, Uyghur society.

They’re trying to transform the entire society.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Thirty-seven-year-old Melbourne plasterer Hayrullah Mai is one of three Australian citizens who have been jailed in Xinjiang. He’s speaking out for the first time.

HAYRULLAH MAI: It’s a bit hard to explain in my feeling at that time. Yeah, never been happen like that before in my life.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In August 2017, while travelling on his Australian passport, Hayrullah was questioned and then detained at China’s Chengdu airport.

HAYRULLAH MAI: When I go to that detention centre in Chengdu, they put chain onto my ankle, put on the handcuffs on my hand.

So, I just a bit shocked because I don’t know what’s the reason why they should to do this to me.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Hayrulla wasn’t allowed to call the Australian embassy or his family. Security forces marched him onto a plane and flew him to Xinjiang.

He says he was brought here to this detention centre near Urumqi and put in a cell with around forty other men.

HAYRULLAH MAI: Yeah, there is not enough space for you just to lie down properly and then turn around something like that. You can’t do that.

We just sleeping two hours.

After two hours, we wake up.

And then we standing two hours, and then they wake up, you going to sleep, something like that.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Classified as a “potential terrorist”, each day the Australian citizen was forced to undergo six hours of indoctrination praising the Chinese communist party and president Xi Jinping.

HAYRULLAH MAI: You have to watch the brainwashing program on TV.

There is TV in the detention centre in that room.

That TV the people is talking about the communist party’s rules and then that Xi Jinping is good, something like that.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: After 2 weeks Hayrullah says he received a visit from an Australian official who introduced himself as “Mark” from the Beijing Embassy.

HAYRULLAH MAI: He trying to ask the officials, Chinese officials, “this guy asking me why you guys put him to the detention centre and then lock him up about two weeks, more than two weeks, what’s the reason?”

And then the Chinese official says, “still no time to answer to this question.”

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: A week later Hayrullah was released to be with his wife and his step son. But authorities ordered him to leave Xinjiang and banned him from visiting for five years.

Hayrullah’s wife was blocked from leaving with him.

HAYRULLAH MAI: She just kept saying, “don’t leave me alone. Don’t leave me alone. Take me with you. I can’t live without you.”

That feeling is you know breaking your heart.

I just left.

Even I can’t turn around and see her again because I from far away near the gate, I can see her just crying, crying.

NURGUL SAWUT, AUSTRALIAN UYGHUR ASSOCIATION: We are going through survivor’s guilt here, and because we’re living in a free country, and are a safe and sound, yet we’re living this emotional prison.

We are walking but walking dead almost.

That’s how I can describe from our community’s experience.

We feel ashamed.

We feel guilt, and because we can’t do anything about to help them.

We’re doing what we can, but this is not good enough help to help them.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Adam Turan’s eighty-year-old father was among those rounded up and put in the camps.

ADAM TURAN: He’s been loyal to the Chinese government all his life.

He just average ordinary Turkic speaking Uyghurs.

He never done anything against government.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Adam’s dad was detained for nearly a year.

He was finally released last August but died only weeks later.

ADAM TURAN: I couldn’t call my mom or any of my family members and I don’t even know if my dad had a funeral after his death.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The last time Adam’s mum answered the phone she was at a police station – held for receiving calls from overseas.

ADAM TURAN: I used to call my mom like a few days every week.

She said, “don’t call me again, because I can’t pick up your phone anyway.”

So that was my last talk with my mom.

And I miss that every week.

I try not to talk about it at home, but at breakfast table, my kids ask sometimes like, “Do you have parents?”

It’s hard to explain them what’s going on.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Even those not detained in camps are subjected to an extraordinary program of control.

Xinjiang has essentially become a huge lab to trial the latest surveillance technology, using artificial intelligence.

ALMAS NIZAMIDIN: Every two hundred meters, there is checkpoints.

They check your ID’s.

They will check your smartphone.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: They just put your phone and then they scan everything and if there’s WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, anything religious scholar, speech, praying app, that kind of apps in your phone, you’re in trouble.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Every Uyghur over 12 years old is forced to surrender their biometric data including voice, blood, DNA samples and iris scans.

DR. DARREN BYLER, anthropologist, University of Washington: So they had to speak into a device in order to get a unique voice signature for each person and then they did a 3D face scan, which meant that you had to have your face scanned from all directions, making different expressions on your face, so that they would get a clear reading of all of your emotions.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: This corporate video shows off the latest advanced facial recognition technology being used in Chinese cities.

The communist party is now using this to track Uyghurs – not just in Xinjiang but across the country.

DR. DARREN BYLER, anthropologist, University of Washington: That’s something that they’re quite proud of that they can detect, racial difference or ethnic difference simply, you know, based on that appearance.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Four Corners can reveal that a researcher at an Australian university has been involved in developing methods to better identify ethnic minorities in China using AI.

Curtin University Associate Professor Liu Wanquan has been working on Chinese government funded research that examines the faces of Uyghurs and how their features could be better picked up in facial scanning.

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: It’s racial profiling, that’s essentially what this technology is being used for, to distinguish Uyghur from Han.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The University says the Associate Professor was solely focused on the provision of “technical advice to the Chinese research team” and that Curtin “unequivocally condemns the use of AI for any form of ethnic profiling” that would “negatively impact and/or persecute any person or group.”

However, Curtin has told Four Corners it is now reviewing its research approval procedures.

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: They will say, “well, this is my area of expertise.

Wow, I can use this stuff to identify a Uyghur as opposed to a Han.

What the Party State does with it is not my responsibility.”

Well, I think that’s shameful and shocking.

I don’t think Australian researchers should be involved in that, and it violates human ethics without a doubt.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The Chinese police also use an app to track the purchases, phone data and travel routines of Uyghurs.

Human Rights Watch revealed that the app was developed by CETC, a Chinese state-owned military tech company.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: In 2017, the University of Technology in Sydney signed a 10 million-dollar deal with CETC to establish a research centre, which included projects in AI and surveillance.

Four Corners can reveal that the University is now conducting an “internal review” into their partnership with the company.

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: I think the UTS and other universities here in Australia that have connections with any Party State company, particularly in the military or security sector, needs to end those contracts, and to pull out of those collaborative arrangement.

I mean, essentially by doing that, we’re being complicit in the human rights abuses that are occurring in Xinjiang and in China more widely.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Uyghur culture is being systematically erased.

Using satellite imagery, it is possible to track the destruction of mosques in Xinjiang.

Four Corners can confirm that this large mosque in Hotan was demolished just weeks ago.

Large areas of traditional Uyghur housing have also been wiped out.

NATHAN RUSER, Satellite analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute: You’re seeing that being systematically demolished and, in its place, is becoming high rise apartment buildings, which are a lot easy to control.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: There are grave fears for the children of the one million Uyghurs believed to be held in camps.

NURGUL SAWUT, AUSTRALIAN UYGHUR ASSOCIATION: Those videos started leaked out, and we start seeing the orphanage, and the people even identifying that some of their nieces and nephews actually inside of that orphanage.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Official government documents reveal a mass increase in the building and upgrading of kindergartens and boarding schools in Xinjiang.

Analysts say children are being deliberately separated from their families

DR. DARREN BYLER, anthropologist, University of Washington: What’s happening to the children is that, if both parents are taken to the camps, often the children are removed from the, the community that they’re a part of and they’re placed in boarding schools or orphanages.

There’s certainly been a massive increase in the building of nurseries and other, education facilities for children.

All Uyghur children are now in the process of re-education or, you know, Chinese assimilation.

DR ADRIAN ZENZ, Independent researcher: That’s also how you inhibit what’s called intergenerational transmission of culture and religion.

Meaning the parent’s ability to pass on the cultural and the spiritual heritage to the next generation.

If you can control that, then you basically have control over the entire next generation of these ethnic groups.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Why you’re doing this to the babies?

That’s the thing scares me all the time.

What’s going to happen if I can’t see my son again?

That’s the thing scare my wife as well.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Meanwhile, inside the camps, parents are being put to work – mounting evidence suggests a system of forced labour is emerging in Xinjiang.

Last October, Chinese State television broadcast these detainees dutifully sewing at a camp in Hotan.
DR ADRIAN ZENZ, Independent researcher: I’m quite used to uncovering dirty secrets of the Chinese government but when I realised the magnitude and the impact, the implications of what I found, it was, it was really something else.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Adrian Zenz has been combing through official Government documents and state media reports – and he’s found shocking new details of what’s happening behind camp walls.
DR ADRIAN ZENZ, Independent researcher: Basically, there’s a huge scheme going on, a huge plan in Xinjiang to put all kinds of people into different forms of involuntary labour.

They’re being moved around a bit like figures on a chess board you know, and they’re put into places where the government can control them.

This kind of cooperation is not voluntary, it’s being enforced.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Government propaganda reveals aspects of the new scheme … here a young Uyghur woman espouses the positives of her “new job.”

UPSOT VIDEO [SUBTITLES]: We had the chance to work in a garment factory.
We learned how to operate the machines on our own.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Documents show how detainee labour is being used to attract companies to set up shop in Xinjiang.

DR ADRIAN ZENZ, Independent researcher: For example, if a factory trains and then employs a camp detainee, they get 5,000 renminbi per worker over a course of three years.

They also get intensive subsidies, for example they can use a factory building for free for the first two years.

The most sort of shocking or problematic aspect of this whole scheme in Xinjiang is that it’s planned in such detail and enforced with such urgency.

UPSOT VIDEO [SUBTITLES]: I have rid myself of all extremist thought and reinvent myself.

DR ADRIAN ZENZ, Independent researcher: Those who are in the camps are supposed to get jobs, permanent factory jobs.

The reason is that in these jobs the government can control them.

They can’t just take off, they’re all together.

It’s very easy to control people in these environments, they also can’t take off on Friday to go to the mosque, they also can’t fast, they cannot do basic religious practise.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The sister of Melbourne resident Gulnur Idreis is forced to work in one of these factories.

Dilnur is a qualified nurse and mother of two children.

In 2017 she and her husband were both arrested and sent to the camps.

GULNUR IDREIS: My sister is a nurse. She didn’t know how to make the clothes.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In May this year Dilnur was transferred from the camp to work for a textile manufacturer.

Using her employee ID card, we traced the company here to this technology park, 30 kilometres north of Urumqi.

Dilnur told her sister she is only allowed home to see her children and parents once a week.

Her husband is still missing.

GULNUR IDREIS: Is her husband still live or die, we don’t know.

What happened?

If a bad thing happened, I don’t know anything.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: In June after several months of no news, Gulnur received a disturbing video call.

It was Dilnur. Terrified of being monitored, she scribbled out a series of notes begging her sister in Melbourne to take the dangerous step of speaking out.

GULNUR IDREIS [SUBTITLES]: If I am not released, cannot get out of here, please speak up for me.

Stand for me.

Never give up.

She wrote this down and showed it to me and I saw it.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The notes described what she wanted Gulnur to tell the world.

VOICE OVER [ACTOR’s VOICE]: 660 people are brought in shackled and handcuffed and it is big.

They have no choice, if they say something, they will end up in jail.

GULNUR IDREIS [SUBTITLES] They are using innocent people. They are not giving them any money and also their food is bad. They are torturing them in every way.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Gulnur says her sister kept motioning that she wanted to end her life.

GULNUR IDREIS [SUBTITLES] She looked very exhausted and emotionally very distressed.

I don’t know if what I say will come to anything.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Four Corners can reveal that these brands sold in Australia use cotton from Xinjiang.

Cotton On and Target Australia are now investigating their relationships with suppliers and factories there.

Cotton On even visited the region last September where their staff member met with a supplier.

The factory is just six kilometres from a massive re-education camp.

DR ADRIAN ZENZ, Independent researcher: Western companies stand an increasing risk of having products made by forced or at least highly involuntary labour somewhere in the supply chains.

It’s going to become inevitable as the scheme is unfolding and getting bigger and bigger.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: It has now been more than two years since Sadam has seen his wife Nadila.

Lutfy will turn two in August and Sadam is desperate for him to be here for his birthday.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: I’m totally broke actually, like financially, mentally physically.

I used to be strong, big guy but this thing just totally ruined my life.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Look at it.

MICHAEL BRADLEY, Sadam’s lawyer: Look at that, so cute. He looks like both of you, you know.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Ha it looks like me.

MICHAEL BRADLEY, Sadam’s lawyer: You reckon? Yeah he does.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: After 8 months of trying to secure Australian citizenship for his baby, Sadam and his lawyer are finally picking up Lutfy’s passport.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: Finally he is an Australian citizen with Australian passport.

MICHAEL BRADLEY, Sadam’s lawyer: It’s a big step.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Sadam hopes that he will be able to use it soon…and that Nadila can come too.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU: I just want to hold him.

MICHAEL BRADLEY, Sadam’s lawyer: I know. You are doing everything you can to get to that.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: The Chinese ambassador made a rare public appearance three weeks ago at the Australia China Business Council networking day at parliament house.

CHENG JINGYE, China’s Ambassador to Australia: There are many reasons that underlie China’s magnificent achievements the most fundamental one is the unswerving adherence to the leadership of the Chinese Communist party.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: We tried to get answers from the Ambassador about what they’re doing to the Uyghurs.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: Why is the communist party doing this?

CHENG JINGYE, China’s Ambassador to Australia: No, it’s training and education centre to help people who are affected by radical ideas, ideology to better integrate.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: What’s wrong with them, why do they need reintegration?

CHENG JINGYE, China’s Ambassador to Australia: This is to find the jobs and to make a better living

SOPHIE MCNEILL, Reporter: They have jobs. Is it just because they are Muslim?

CHENG JINGYE, China’s Ambassador to Australia: No, no, no.

DR ADRIAN ZENZ Independent researcher: The end game in my opinion is very clearly the long-term survival and rule of the communist party.

This is being achieved by achieving complete ideological control over every part of China.

Beijing has declared the ultimate war on the religion and culture of these Turkic minorities in Xinjiang and it’s not gonna rest until they will be lastingly changed forever.

ADAM TURAN: I think that’s why they’re doing it, to systematically assimilate us into Chinese society, I think they want us to eat like Chinese, walk like Chinese or live like Chinese or die like Chinese.

ASSOC PROF. JAMES LEIBOLD, ethnic policy in China, La Trobe University: If you look at the legal definition of genocide, it has to be systematic, it has to be intentional.

This is an act of cultural genocide and one of the worst human rights abuses of our time.

ALMAS NIZAMIDIN: So I’m asking government to help me to ask the Chinese government to release my mom, my wife and bring them to me.

Every day, every day, every single hours.

I can’t even sleep on the night-time.

That’s my life now.

There’s no any happiness.

I can’t enjoy from anythings.

SADAM ABUDUSALAMU Maybe they’re going to take her again, just because of I’m speaking up.

I’ve got no other option left.

I’ve done everything.

I speak with the Home Affairs.

I speak with the foreign ministers.

I speak with the, trying to talk with the Chinese authorities, bribe them, but still, there is nothing happening in past two years.

So now I have to speak out.

And Australians, I think Australians, all the Australia need to know this story.

Related

Tell the World

A wide shot shows watch towers and barbed wire fence around a building.

Four Corners

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/tell-the-world/11311228

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